HR · 8 December 2016

Rise in permanent placements undermined by shortage of candidates

Permanent placements
November witnessed the fastest growth in permanent placements since February 2016

The UK labour market is ending 2016 on a positive note, as new research reveals that recruitment for permanent placements in November grew at the fastest rate since February.

The “Report on Jobs” study, produced by economic analyst IHS Markit, collected data from recruitment agencies to show the health of the jobs market in Britain.

Figures for November indicated that British businesses are seeking to expand their workforce and revealed the expectations for growth of private companies.

The Increase in permanent recruitment was seen most strongly across the North of England and the Midlands, but strong growth in England was not mirrored in Scotland – the only UK region to see a decline in appointments.

However, the rise in demand for permanent placements was not been met by availability of qualified staff. The study showed that candidate availability for permanent roles fell at the fastest rate for eight months,

Commenting on the rise in permanent placements, Kevin Green, chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) – the organisation that commissions the monthly report – acknowledged that the jobs market was ending 2016 “on a high”, but raised concerns of an “increasing skills shortage” in many industries.

“Jobs are going unfilled in key areas.

“We need engineers to deliver infrastructure projects, carers and nurses to look after our aging population, teachers to educate our young people, and right now we are short of warehouse workers, drivers and chefs to meet demand over Christmas,” Green said in a statement.

He concluded by highlighting the potential in using apprenticeships to develop a “pipeline” of workers to fill skilled positions.

Speaking to Business Advice, recruitment expert Paul Rockey, gave small business owners pointers in how to make sure first recruit is the right one for their company.

“We ask people to provide three reasons why they are the perfect fit along with their CV. We then consider their answers alongside our values and if they are a match, they are invited in for an interview which is not based on competency but on value fit.”

In a recent article for Business Advice, Paul Haydock, founder of invoice finance startup DueCourse, pushed the owners of small companies to consider “smart recruiting” in order to navigate the competitive jobs market.

He said: “The very best people are already in a job, and are probably happy there. With this in mind, company decision makers need to put a little planning, time and strategy into sniffing out the right talent, and then working out how to tempt them over.”

Recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that 23.4m Britons are now working in permanent placements, while the national employment rate reached 74.5 per cent in September – equalling the highest rate of employment ever recorded in 1971.

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Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.